Study Finds The American People Have No Impact At All On US Policy
The Hill has the results of a major new study of American policy and who influences it. Basically, it confirms what most of us already knew – American policy is not shaped at all by the American people in general. It all comes down to who has the most money.
The new study, with the jaw-clenching title of “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” is forthcoming in the fall 2014 edition of Perspectives on Politics. Its authors, Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, examined survey data on 1,779 national policy issues for which they could gauge the preferences of average citizens, economic elites, mass-based interest groups and business-dominated interest groups. They used statistical methods to determine the influence of each of these four groups on policy outcomes, including both policies that are adopted and rejected.
The analysts found that when controlling for the power of economic elites and organized interest groups, the influence of ordinary Americans registers at a “non-significant, near-zero level.” The analysts further discovered that rich individuals and business-dominated interest groups dominate the policymaking process. The mass-based interest groups had minimal influence compared to the business-based interest groups.
The study also debunks the notion that the policy preferences of business and the rich reflect the views of common citizens. They found to the contrary that such preferences often sharply diverge and when they do, the economic elites and business interests almost always win and the ordinary Americans lose. (Read More)
This would explain why so many lawmakers are pushing for immigration reform – big business wants it, and big business generally gets what it wants. It also explains why the Democrats cuts so many deals with the pharmaceutical and insurance companies when ramming through Obamacare. In that case, those big businesses may come to regret jumping about that train.